One of the trickiest things with depression and anxiety is that they can steal your motivation to do the things that will take you to a better place mentally.
Any of us who experience depression or low mood will know how it is to have the internal battle of knowing that a walk for example will make us feel better, but struggling to find the energy to get up and go do it.
Those of us with anxiety may relate to feeling wound up, having the thought that doing a mindfulness meditation will help us, but feeling that we'll be too anxious to make it through to the end of the recording.
It's a catch 22 that we need to stop in it's tracks. If we wait til we feel like doing the thing that will help us, we'll never do it. Anxiety and depression will see to that. However, if we can do our best to ignore the feeling and do it anyway, over time, the depression will lift, and the anxiety will soothe.
If you're not feeling great today, do something. Take a walk or do some yoga, do a meditation, phone a friend, something. It's a step in the right direction. Do the same tomorrow and you've taken another step, same the next day, and the next. Before you know it, you'll be in a better place.
We can often feel like victims of time: maybe we've noticed how quickly it passes from one week to the next, or a feeling that we never have enough time in a day to get everything done, or maybe we've noticed our youth fading and how helpless we are to turn back the clock.
However, time can be a friend if we learn to see it as one.
Many people say they're too busy to do the things that feed them--they just don't have the time to meditate, they're too busy to do yoga, or take that walk. But, these are the very things that calm us, and take us out of stress mode. When we are calmer, we are more focused, efficient, and more resilient, leaving us in a better position to use our time well.
Also, time is a healer. The only certainty we have in life is that things change, and if we allow time to do it's thing, we see how our feelings change, no feeling, either good or bad, lasts forever, and this can be a great comfort if we let it.
Lastly, we can recognise that time is always on the march, and in light of that, how will you live your life? Each day counts, so what will you do today that is worthwhile? As Eric Thomas says: "Change your 24 hours and you will change your life"
"Life, if well lived, is long enough." - Seneca
When you feel tension in the body or in your thoughts, spend a minute (or longer if you have it) doing the following:
This really simple exercise works to bring equilibrium back to the nervous system, and you can do it anywhere!
"When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace." ~ Author Unknown
Instructions for "Move the Morning Blues":
When you get up each morning, immediately move your body, some suggestions are:
Many of us wake in the morning and are immediately inundated with thoughts of all we have to do today, this week, this month, this year... Agh!
If we don't do something to counter this, we can walk through the day feeling burdened and blue.
It can be difficult to tackle this mentally, because the mind is already so busy there doesn't seem to be room for anything else!
This is where the body can come to the rescue. Moving the body in the morning gives you energy for the day, and helps you shift perspective. Exercise releases endorphins, which make you feel happier and brighter, and more able to tackle your to-do list in a positive way.
The trick, like most things that are good for you, is to do them even if you don't feel like it! You'll thank yourself later...
"Now, I'm no scientist, but I know what endorphins are. They're tiny little magical elves that swim through your blood stream and tell funny jokes to each other. When they reach your brain, you hear what they're saying and that boosts your health and happiness. "Knock Knock... Who's There?.. Little endorphin... Little endorphin who?... Little Endorphin Annie." And then the endorphins laugh and then you laugh. See? Its Science."
Instructions for "Strong Abs, Strong Spirit":
If you're anything like me, posture makes a big difference. When I am slumped or slouched, I feel like I have less energy and less control. When I am sitting or walking with an erect and dignified posture, I feel stronger, more energetic, and more in control, ready to deal with what comes my way. Try it and see how you feel!
"It is the job of the spine to keep the brain alert. The moment the spine collapses, the brain collapses." B.K.S. Iyengar
The Weekly Minute is a blog I write each week with the aim of providing proven tools to help promote positive mental health.
The collection of short, practical mindfulness and therapy tools for self-reflection and self-improvement, can equip people to take their mental well-being into their own hands, and improve their quality of life.
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